Weight loss efforts can reward you with better health and an improved overall appearance. However, the road to weight loss is not without its bumps, twists and turns. If you find yourself constantly feeling hungry on your diet, you can take steps to minimize hunger pains and maximize weight-loss success. Always check with your physician before beginning any diet, however, to ensure your approaches are as healthy as possible.
Snacking can bridge the gap between meals and reduce hunger when you are dieting. Your snacks don’t have to be high in calories to be effective. MayoClinic.com recommends enjoying snacks that have 100 calories or less to keep hunger at bay. Foods with higher water and fiber content will be more filling. Examples include apple slices and low-fat cheese, canned mandarin oranges with whipped topping or one cup of sliced bananas and fresh raspberries. Try to pack a snack to take with you when you are not at home so you will have easy access if you get hunger pains.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Dieting success can take up all your focus and attention, but when you haven’t had enough sleep, this can be difficult to achieve. Getting less than eight hours of sleep per night is associated with a greater risk for being overweight, according to George Blackburn, associate director of the division of nutrition at Harvard Medical School and interviewed in “USA Today.” By getting enough zzz’s, you can reduce hunger and increase your changes of diet success.
Keep Stress at Bay
In addition to getting a good night’s sleep, taking steps to reduce stress can minimize hunger pains that are related to emotional eating. Regular exercise, which leads to weight loss, also helps manage stress. Seeking support from friends and family, reading a good book or meditating a few minutes a day are other stress-relieving techniques you could do when you start to feel hunger pains.
Learn to Recognize Hunger
Adjusting to a new diet can be difficult because you must distinguish between what is truly hunger -- your body’s need for more food for fuel -- and emotional hunger, according to MayoClinic.com. You may wish to drink a glass of water or wait 10 to 15 minutes when you start to feel hungry. If you still feel hungry after this time, eat a small snack. This can keep your blood sugar levels from dropping too low, which can eventually lead you to reach for an even higher calorie snack. At your next meal, eat at least 450 calories to ensure you are eating enough at your meals to feel full.
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.